Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Breaking: Jury reaches verdict

Saratoga Hospital coffee-burn
patient wins partial jury verdict

By David Baker
Posted July 21, 2014
263 words

A Saratoga County panel of six jurors said the Saratoga Hospital was not negligent in allowing a patient in the emergency room to have hot coffee that spilled on him during a seizure, but decided that the hospial did deviate from the accepted standard of care in its treatment of his burns and awarded him $25,000 for pain and suffering.

The verdict came at the end of a trial before state Supreme Court Justice Ann C. Crowell in Ballston Spa. The lawsuit was the subject of an exclusive story posted here last week.

The amount of the award means that Rodney Vallone will probably get nothing. His attorneys are entitled to a third of the net amount, that is after the costs of preparing for and conducting a trial are deducted. These may well exceed the award.

Jurors were asked a series of questions, most of which required a yes or no answer.

Did the defendant deviate from the standard of care in its treatment of Vallone? YES. Was this deviation a substantial factor in causing harm to Vallone? YES. (One juror voted no).  Did the hospital deviate from the standard of care in discharging Vallone? YES. Was this a substantial factor in causing harm? NO. Was Vallone negligent while in the ER? YES.  Was this a factor in causing him harm? YES.

Jurors were asked to state the percentage of fault. They said the hospital was 10 percent to blame, Vallone 90 percent.  They set damages at $25,000 for past pain and suffering.  Asked if he was due an award for medical expenses or future pain, they voted no.